June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Electrical and Computer
14.4.1 - 14.4.15
Using DAQ boards to communicate with NXT in measurements and Instrumentation applications Prakash Ranganathan 1, Richard Schultz 2 Department of Electrical Engineering University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202 email:email@example.com 2 firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract - This paper focuses on a new approach to teach electrical engineering principles and how to promote student learning through different innovative projects that can be developed with the use of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kit powered by a customized National Instruments LabView program. Even though, the use of LEGO NXT brick has been in practice and prevails in today’s K-12 classrooms, this paper will primarily focus on how the use of NXT can be expanded to students in colleges and universities at freshmen and Sophomore levels using simple DAQ board and prototype interface unit. Originally, NXT was intended for use by children at home or in the classroom, but the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT system has been acquired by tens of thousands of adults. Engineers, academic researchers, and hobbyists have reverse- engineered its firmware, hacked together new programming environments, and shared recipes for unanticipated ways of connecting it to the outside world.
Keywords: Critical thinking, LabView, LEGO, NXT Sensors
While there are many environments that may promote the development of problem solving and critical thinking, the use of an environment that involves robotics may be appropriate for young students due to its student friendly environment and ability to support data collection  . The University of North Dakota (UND) has adopted the approach of introducing the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kit to our EE 101 - Introduction to Electrical Engineering freshmen course to teach sensor circuits and LabView programming, thereby fostering creativity and developing smart and optimized strategies when dealing engineering design challenges. The use of NXT in promoting circuitry and programming concepts through creative problem solving projects will be thoroughly investigated, and its effectiveness will be documented and compared to other preliminary approaches adapted to reach and promote engineering education. This paper will showcase these strengths and the LEGO NXT bricks enormous potential to promote engineering education in universities world-wide. The paper will also explain to implement universities educators how to make the best use of the NXT kit to design and implement several creative projects in different platforms, which can be integrated into our freshmen engineering curriculum together with other outreach measures.
II. NXT in Electrical Engineering course
At the University of North Dakota (UND), we introduce the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kit as part of our EE 101 freshmen course. EE 101 is an
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